When seeking a graduate degree, it was important for TeShania Bey that she obtain the general Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. She thought it would allow her the most options. Though not directly required for her current job, the MBA stood out to her as part of a long-term career plan.
Bey obtained a Bachelor of Science in marketing from a for-profit online college, but the process was less than ideal. She was looking for an online MBA program with a strong reputation. She was delighted to find an institution that satisfied those needs at the nearby University of South Carolina Aiken.
“I heard great things about UofSC Aiken. I live five minutes from the campus,” she said. “But I didn’t know that they had an online program. I know all the teachers are local. The staff is local. If I ever need any help, I can get it.”
Bey plans to walk in the May 2021 commencement ceremony. She is excited for the chance to celebrate after all of the stress of completing the degree during a pandemic.
The experience has been positive, and she has appreciated the support of the faculty and staff throughout the process. Bey felt that her instructors knew her, and she could talk to them without waiting a week to get an email reply.
“When you’re in high school, your teacher knows your name and where you sit,” she said. “That’s how I felt at UofSC Aiken.”
Staying the Course
Particularly influential was MBA Director Dr. Linda Rodriguez, who helped Bey navigate some difficult personal trials.
“Last year, my stepfather was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” Bey recalled. “Dr. Rodriguez reassured me, helped me drop a class, and told me all about the grade forgiveness program. So, they do give you that personal touch versus a strictly online school.”
Faculty member Dr. Marouen Ben Jebara held review sessions to ensure all the students were on the same page in his class. He made complex concepts approachable. Bey saw it as further evidence of faculty investment in student success, something missing from her previous academic experiences. Beyond the professors, her classmates also had a positive impact on her.
“As crazy as it seems,” she said. “I have made some great connections with my online classmates. We talk outside of class.”
Work in Progress
With such stellar support, Bey felt encouraged as a student. Online education worked well because she could choose the hours. She strengthened her time management skills, broke bad habits and became more confident.
“There’s not a luxury to leave things to the last minute,” she said. “Even though the classes are only seven weeks, all those seven weeks are catered to your learning. There was actual learning involved where I didn’t feel like I was forced to hurry up and do this.”
Her commitments beyond the classroom included her full-time job in the nuclear energy industry and caring for her three children, who are 23, 18 and 14 in age.
Bey works for Parsons Corporation at its Savannah River Site where she is proud to be part of a vital service that helps the U.S. Department of Energy safely process radioactive material left over from the Cold War. She even took on a new position while in the online MBA program.
“As the generator certification official, I’ll be dealing with characterizing shipments and shipping hazardous and nuclear waste,” she said.
The 5-Year Plan
Bey has worked in the nuclear energy sector for 13 years, including six with Parsons. She entered the industry after losing another job while out on maternity leave caring for her newborn. The transition led her to social services and a Welfare-to-Work program placement.
Her drive and desire to contribute have served her well as she has moved up the ranks in her field. The MBA from UofSC Aiken represents an essential part of her five-year plan. The result is to find a way to see more of the world.
“My knowledge is going to afford me the benefit of working and traveling,” Bey said.
She feels her children must see her graduate in May after she has worked so hard for this achievement. While they understood the work she was doing, she had to set boundaries with other family members so that she could complete her homework.
“I just started putting my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb.’ I’ll call you back when I finish.”
Learn more about University of South Carolina Aiken’s online MBA program.